Thursday, January 19, 2017

Forget Muncie

So, you know in the movie Forget Paris, where Billy Crystal is trying to rekindle the honeymoon phase of his relationship with Debra Winger which was in Paris and she's like,"Forget Paris."?

Now, for this men's basketball season, it has turned into "Forget Muncie."  At the time--following exceeded expectations in Akron and then the road win over Ball State--it felt like things might be coming together.  It has not been a good two weeks.  Since that, BG has lost all 3 games by 10+ points, with two of those games at home and the players were called selfish by the Coach.  No good at all. And for a team that was pinning its hope on some close losses in the non-MAC season, losing by 28, 17 and 12 in consecutive non-competitive CONFERENCE games was sobering.

As this rematch will be if BG doesn't get things squared around.  This game is literally two weeks since the last one, so here's the first preview, which still should suffice. 

Whats happened since then?  Well, we've covered that story for BG.  Ball State is 3-0 since we played them.  The beat Miami at home, Buffalo on the road and CMU at home.  In that stretch, they are scoring like crazy.  No fewer than 85 points in any game.  Offensive efficiencies of 1.17, 1.24 and 1.26 per game. BG's highest is 1.17, which was Akron.  The Cardinals are hot.  They are shooting 42% from 3FG over those 3 games and 61% from 2FG.  They remain the best FT shooting team in the MAC at 78%.

So, here's the thing about the win in Muncie.  They didn't make shots and they didn't get to the line.  Whether it was BG's defense or cold shooting....and BG is 10th in the MAC in conference play at defending the shot, including this game....but Ball State didn't put the ball into the basket and only had .99 points per possession.  Also, they turned the ball over a lot, something that also plagued them in their next day against Miami but they cleaned up for the next 2.

Now, maybe Ball State has been hot for the last 3 games.  And, to be sure, they are unlikely to continue shooting like that, even if just considering regression to the mean.  But, they are also unlikely to be down around .99 points per possession again.  And BG is the worst offensive team in the MAC in conference play, so either we get really hot (unlikely) or we have to keep them within reach.

Tayler Persons had a huge game last time for BSU.  He scored 21.  Franko House had 16 and 10.
 Sellers, Kiaway, Weber and Tyler all had very long shooting nights from beyond the arc.  Those guys have heated up since then.

For BG, the Falcons had a strong game from the starters, something that has not been typical, based on Coach Huger's comments from post-games.

So, it is a new day.  Forget Muncie.  Both teams will need to change their trendlines for BG to win this one.

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